Bláth by Branar Theatre.
29th May 2014, 7.30 pm, Glor, Ennis.
Director: Marc Mac Lochlainn
By Ana Colomer
Bláth is puppetry made poetry. Evocative, beautifully paced, visually outstanding… The puppets are exquisite, alive in the hands of only two puppeteers who sometimes work as one in a tight, deliberate choreography. The movement of the puppets, sometimes opening or closing non existing windows or looking out, entices the imagination. These puppets have an intrinsic quality, a tenderness, something that makes the viewer want to hug them, bring them home and take care of them.
The set and props, designed by visual artist Maeve Clancy, is a work of art in itself. Mainly depicting a city, buildings which window lights turn on and off, workers come in and out of the subway, builders go up and down their work area…
Music is an epic, cinema-like score specially composed by Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames). It fits in, it belongs to it, inadvertently, like a baby born with the right clothes on.
What surprises one most when one sees Bláth is the extremely clever use of space. How the elements on the set move, change, transform to accommodate the action. Like a sophisticated clockwork machine.
There are projections, lights, shadows… over all, it is a beautiful display of intelligence. There is no extravagance, or excess use of technology to achieve the stunning results. The play is performed in an intimate setting and for a small audience. Some children were getting itchy and stirring in their seats after about 10 minutes of the performance, but I suppose that is normal in these times of fast paced entertainment, where they don’t have to use their imagination any more, because they get the full story in convenient 20 minute chapters on Disney Channel.
Ana Colomer is a visual artist living and working in County Clare